Link Roundup and Facial Hair Update

As regular readers may remember, when our team of underdog bloggers triumphed last month in a fund-raising contest for Camp Quest, I vowed to grow a beard so as to prove that PZ Myers wasn’t the only atheist overlord out there who could boast of manly facial hair. Well, that experiment is underway as we speak.

At the end of the month, I’ll post before-and-after pictures with the results. In the meantime, the beard is still in an incomplete state, and I don’t want it seen by the prying eyes of search engines until it’s in its full glory. But if you want to see updates, I’ve been posting them every week or so on my Facebook wall – so if you’re a fellow user of that sinister privacy-robbing corporate behemoth, why not send me a friend request? My friends list is sadly short compared to some of my fellow bloggers, and I’d like to take steps to rectify that.

And you know, it’s the strangest damn thing, but ever since I started growing this beard, I’ve begun to find marine invertebrates unaccountably fascinating. Here’s a mini-link roundup of some stories I’ve come across that I thought were worth sharing:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • jack

    The piece on the cephalopod eye was good, but I spotted a few minor errors. They’re not the only invertebrates to have a camera eye. Spiders do, too, and the jumping spiders have rather elaborate ones — although still much simpler than an octopus eye. Also, not all vertebrates focus by changing the shape of the lens. Most fish eyes focus by moving the lens, like the octopus eye. That strategy has more to do with life in the water than with having a backbone or not.

    More evidence that the intelligent designer loves cephalopods more than humans: They’re not nearly as prone to retinal detachment as we are.

    (Pardon this nerdly outburst, but I wrote a thesis on this kind of thing ages ago, so I couldn’t resist.)

    Regarding the facial hair, be warned! You may be on the verge of another kind of deconversion. You may wake up one morning and wonder, “Is there really any good reason to scrape my face with a piece of razor-sharp steel every morning, or is this just a pointless tradition and social convention… like religion!?”

  • Jormungundr

    Clearly the intelligent designer does like cephalopods more than humans. He made most of the world covered in salt water for their convenience. It pretty clearly wasn’t a planet designed for land based life forms.
    But then he made well over 99% of the universe vacuum with well over 99% of the non-vacuum bits made out of hydrogen gas that is either freezing cold or burning hot by the standards of squids and people. So he clearly doesn’t particularly favor cephalopods or humans.

  • http://www.AtheistsUnited.org/ Neil C. Reinhardt

    I first grew a beard in around 1963 and kept for a few years in spite of being informed it was preventing me from being promoted from a “lead” over the “final assembly” area in large main frame computer manufacturing (at NCR) to “Foreman”. (They later changed this title to “supervisor”)

    Then my desire for both more money and a little more “status” overcame my desire to keep my beard, so I shaved it off on a Monday and was promoted on Thursday.

    One thing about having a beard at the time was few guys had them. So some of the girls who liked would make the first move. When someone is as unattractive as I am, this was nice.

    Something I found interesting was the three types of reactions I got on the first day after I had shaved it off. I was in our company cafeteria before work started having breakfast.

    When I saw someone I knew, they either:

    A. Commented on my no longer having a beard. (Which is what I would expect)

    B. Said hello to me and acted as if the beard they had seen me with for years was still there.

    Or

    C. “You look different, what did you do?”

    It took some people, whom I had seen every working day for years, several weeks to even notice I no longer had a beard at all.

    Anywho, I found all of the responses other than the first one to be odd and proof of many peoples inability to see what is right in front of them.

    Two more comments on beards.

    When I had a beard, I got “static” about it from various people including some supervisors of other areas. Then after five years, and as then having beards was “in” several of these same supervisors grew beards. So I then got them back. (This included my “boss” who had asked me to shave in the first place.)

    Of course, I also grew mine back and still have it. (Only now it is more gray than dark brown.)

  • Ritchie

    I love having a beard. As long as you keep it trimmed (try to keep it on your jaw and off your neck) it adds a few manly years. My flatmate, who has never seen me without one, saw a photo of me clean-shaven from five years ago and said I looked fifteen years younger, like a school boy. Definetely gruffs up a boyish face.

    But on the subject of marine invertibrates, I had to share this fascinating video: There is no such things as a ‘jellyfish’.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HzFiQFFQYw

  • Kacy Ray

    Did cephalopods disobey god by eating the fruit in the garden? I think not! That’s why they don’t have a blind spot.

    Duh!

  • ivy privy

    I’ve begun to find marine invertebrates unaccountably fascinating

    Then I suspect you would love the The Blaschka marine invertebrates. Incredible realistic detail, rendered in glass by a father and son team.

    As long as you keep it trimmed it adds a few manly years.

    I’ve had a beard for 31 years now. People routinely tell me I look ~ 10 years younger than my chronological age.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    @jack:

    Regarding the facial hair, be warned! You may be on the verge of another kind of deconversion. You may wake up one morning and wonder, “Is there really any good reason to scrape my face with a piece of razor-sharp steel every morning, or is this just a pointless tradition and social convention… like religion!?”

    Heh. Well, we’ll see about that. :) Even if I decide to keep it, I’m going to at least trim it periodically. I’ve already made up my mind that I’m going to get rid of the mustache at the end of the month – it prickles too much for my taste!

  • CharlesInSoCal

    I vowed to grow a beard

    Whoa! – Not so fast there EM – let’s see what the Bible has to say about beards before we do anything:

    Isaiah 7:20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired
    Leviticus 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
    Ezekiel 5:1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard
    Ezekiel 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long
    Ezra 9:3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonished.
    Jeremiah 48:37 For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.

    OK – Now that we’ve cleared that up…

    I’ve begun to find marine invertebrates unaccountably fascinating

    Ditto. May I recommend Deep Sea and Under The Sea. They’re each only about 40 minutes long.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I’ve already made up my mind that I’m going to get rid of the mustache at the end of the month – it prickles too much for my taste!

    Prickliness is just a passing stage, based on the length and flexibility of the hairs. Once they are long enough, the prickling passes.